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Site Graphics and Multimedia Design Forum

Manipulating an image
Or I am such a nube on this..

 6:26 pm on Jun 5, 2001 (gmt 0)


I have an image, it is located at the domain in my profile plus /images/products/mrings006.jpg , I have around 210 images of this nature (plus each needs to be made into a thumbnail).

They at this point have a black background (All JPG also). I need to turn the background into a white background with a drop shadow.

I am a base Adobe 5.5 user. I seem to be able to figure out things as I go but on this one I am having major problems. I have downloaded PSP 7 also but never having used it before I am at more of a loss.

I hate to ask but could someone post or sticky mail me the steps involved to achive what I decribed above? I hate asking but have been trying this for the last few days with no progress. At this point I do not have it in the budget to have it done.

I appreciate the read and any help would be great.

Thank you,




 8:52 pm on Jun 5, 2001 (gmt 0)


The main challenge you face is creating a "mask" to separate the foreground image from the background. Photoshop has a lot of tools for this, and any number of techniques are needed, depending on the nature of image you're working with. Going from a very dark background to a white background can be a challenge, because of the dark halo that tends to remain around the foregrond pixels.

Here's a tutorial about masks [graphicssoft.about.com] from About.com that can help bring you up to speed.

After you've got the foreground masked, put it on it's own layer and fill the entire background layer with white. Then:

1. make duplicate of the foreground layer
2. fill the "lower" copy of the layer with black, making sure that "Preserve Transparency" is checked so that black fills only the shape of the foreground object
3. run Gaussian Blur on the black copy, to get the fuzzy edges a shadow will require
4. offset the blurred black copy down and right (or up and left, or whatever direction you choose)
5. slide the layer transparency back until you get just the drop shadow effect you want.

You'll want to make a record of the exact moves you make in creating the drop shadow so that you can consistently get the exact same effect over and over. Recording them with the Actions palette can come in handy for mass production.


 9:14 pm on Jun 5, 2001 (gmt 0)

You could just use the Photshop drop shadow effect too, if you want to be lazy and don't really care about getting a customized version of the shadow.


 9:20 pm on Jun 5, 2001 (gmt 0)

If you don't want to mess with masks, and all the objects in your photos have nice clean edges, you can also use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (the "pointy" looking one ;) ) to isolate the central object in each image...

1. Open the black background jpeg file
2. Double click on the "background" layer in your layers palette, so it becomes "Layer 0" (or whatever you'd like to name it).
3. Create a new, white background layer, then re-select the image layer (Layer 0)
4. Use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (with anti-aliasing on, in your options palette) to carefully trace the outline of your central object (I find working at 200% magnification on a 72ppi file works best for screen images)
5. In your "Select" menu, chose "Inverse" so the area around the object is selected (instead of the object itself).
6. Hit the delete button. Your black background should disappear, leaving your traced object sitting above a white background layer.
7. Use "drop shadow" under Layer > Effects to set whatever style/size/etc. drop shadow you want (and write down your settings for a uniform effect in the rest of your images).

Check out this image [absak.com] to see the resulting effect...


 11:51 am on Jun 6, 2001 (gmt 0)


Thank you all very much. When I get home tonight I will play with the suggestions.

Thanks again,



 6:28 pm on Jun 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

Let us know how things work out! :)


 11:45 am on Jun 7, 2001 (gmt 0)


I was doing the following...

Magic wand + shift to highlight (march ants march ;)). Then under layers pallette drag to create a new layer. Then image, adjust, invert. Then a CTRL-D, to deselect. Then last but not least layers, effects, drop shadow and adjust to liking.

Looked great until I did pieces of jewelery with black onyx in them. It removed the black also. Played with tolerance but the same thing.

I've been living at work since your posts so I have not had a chance to explore your suggestions yet but I am hoping it will get me the results I need.



 6:41 pm on Jun 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

until I did pieces of jewelery with black onyx in them

Did you check the "contiguous" box in "magic Wand Options"? Or was the onyx in the photo actually overlapping the background color?


 9:51 pm on Jun 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

I agree that after clearing the background out, duplicate the contents to a new layer is PS, and simply add in the layer effect.


 11:20 am on Jun 8, 2001 (gmt 0)

Hi Mivox,

Overlapping the background color.



 8:25 pm on Jun 8, 2001 (gmt 0)

>Hit the delete button. Your black background should disappear, leaving your traced object sitting above a white background layer...

I would not do that. The advantage of using the mask tool would be that you can continue to both add and subtract from the mask without losing any of the underlying image info.

I would suggest:

1. Select the black bkgd using the wand tool set to contiguous.

2. Go to select-modify selection-expand and expand the selection by 2 pixels.

3. Go to select-feather and feather by 1 pixel.

4. Duplicate the layer.

5. With the top layer selected click the mask button on the bottom of the layers palette.

6. Make a new layer between the two.

7. With the new layer selected go select inverse.

8. Fill selection with black.

9. Select none.

10. Apply a gaussian blur of 10.

11. Make the layer opacity 50%

12. Paint the bottom layer white.

13. Drag the shadow to where you want it.

This approach will get rid of any halo effect and give you a shadow that you can manipulate and edit freely.


 8:35 pm on Jun 8, 2001 (gmt 0)

without losing any of the underlying image info

Very true... but if the background image info is flat black in the first place, you're not losing much. I got the impression these weren't one-of-a-kind, irreplacable digital images, so cutting away the background seemed like a simple option.

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